Swimming is a hallmark activity of summer and a great way to have some family fun. However, it is not something to take lightly. Drowning can occur quickly and without warning, even when other people are close by. A Red Cross research report examining recreational and daily living water-related fatalities from 2009-2014 showed that an average of 457 Canadians drowned each year. Children 1-14 years accounted for 10% of deaths, while all males represented 80% of all deaths. Often, the risk of water-related injury or death when in, on or near the water is far greater than perceived.
If you plan to spend time near the water this summer, keep the following tips in mind:
Always stay in arms length of young children and refrain from distracting activities such as reading or talking on the phone.
Put anyone who is not a strong swimmer in a proper life jacket!
Sign the kids up for lesson! Formal swimming lessons have been shown to cut the risk of drowning among small children by up to 88%.
Always swim with a buddy and check the weather conditions before venturing into the water.
Install fences around home pools. A pool fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
Avoid alcohol when swimming or supervising other swimmers.
Enforce water safety rules such as no diving, no running and no rough play.
Learn CPR and first aid.
Stay safe and have fun!
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